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Love spoons

In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons with decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
Love spoons are traditionally carved from one piece of wood and you will note a sailing theme that runs throughout many of the carved symbols. Welsh sailors, spending many long and lonely hours at sea, used the time to carve spoons for the girl that they had left at home. As artists their work reflected their daily experiences.

Celtic spoons worked from the rigging ropes came to mean "everlasting love" while the anchor design was used to show that the sailors heart was "home to stay or anchored at home with her". The ship's wheel showed his intentions to "work hard for her and the family she would give him."
Agricultural designs also are prominent in the Welsh Love Spoon. The ship's wheel is also show as a wagon wheel, again showing the man's intentions of becoming a good provider for the family. Twisted vines and leaves showed a "love that would continue to grow throughout the years". The horseshoe, just as it still does today, meant "good luck and good fortunes ahead". Another symbol that was common is the heart which showed "his love for her", the double heart meaning a "shared or returned love", and the heart shaped spoon bowl suggesting a "life full of love".

Both the bell and cross were "will you marry me" symbols and the cross also implied "faith". Flowers within the carving ask if he "may court her" and showed his growing affection for her.

How intricate and complicated the carving of the spoon was came to show how intense his love for her was. From this came double spoons showing that "they would be together forever" and even triple spoons for "their growing family".

The open link chain and ball in cage carving are often found in Welsh Love Spoons. Worked from one piece of wood the open link chain is used to connect the different design pieces. The number of links in the chain came to mean the "number" of the symbols used ... the number of children he was hoping she would give him ... the number of years they would be together. The ball and cage showed that "he would protect her love".

Using the symbols of the Welsh Love Spoons, the sample spoon shown at the top of this page includes a Celtic Knot that has the shape of two hearts, a vine twist below the second heart, and a horse shoe shape just above the bowl created by the ends of the knot strings..

Double Heart: They love each other, a shared love
Celtic Knot: Everlasting love
Vine Twist: Our love will grow
Horse Shoe: Good luck and good fortune
The second sample of the Welsh Love Spoon above could be read as the following:
Single Heart: May I court you?
Vine Twist: Our love will grow
Three Link Chain: Married within three years
Ball in Cage: Your love is safe with me
Heart Shaped Spoon: We will have a life full of love

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